Spinal Decompression Therapy – What is it?

spinal decompression therapyThroughout modern society neck and back pain are problems that affect many people. Unfortunately, spinal compression is not uncommon. Daily activities combined with stress can lead to spinal compression over time, even if a person is generally healthy.

To best explain spinal compression, think of the spine as a spring that has been pushed downwards, forcing each ring to grate against each other. When this happens, a person may feel pain due to pinched nerves, out of position spinal discs, and stressed out muscles.

What Can Cause Spinal Compression?

There are several reasons why spinal compression can occur. The main back pain causes are attributed to disc degeneration, bulges or herniations, or through trauma sustained along the spine. An abnormal spine alignment may also be the root of the problem as well as some disease of the bone. Arthritis, tumor and infection can be added to the list as well.

Is spinal cord compression risky?

Spinal cord compression is something that must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. When left untreated, individuals might suffer from chronic pain, incontinence and even paralysis.

Spinal decompression therapy can often help to relieve some of the pain and pressure to assist the natural healing process.

What is spinal decompression?

Spinal decompression is the process of providing back pain relief to the compressed spine. Going by the spring analogy, decompression is when you remove the pushing pressure off the spring, allowing it to bounce back in a relaxed position.

There are currently two major ways to undergo spinal decompression therapy. Individuals can opt for surgical or non-surgical methods, depending on their personal health.

inversion tableNon-surgical therapy usually involves the use of inversion tables. These tables “invert” a person, allowing him to hang completely upside down with the help of a device. This upside down position lets gravity pull down the bones and help them slot back into place.

Surgical spinal decompression comes in two types: microdisectomy and laminectomy. Both involve the removal of a part of the body contributing to the pain. Once this is removed, the pinching sensation fades away along with the pain. Note that although surgical decompression provides quick results, the natural method may require a few weeks or months to take effect.

How do I know I need spinal decompression?

Aside from pain, and backache, the most common symptoms of a compressed spine include weakened feet, pain along the arms and buttocks, stiffness, hand coordination problems, numbness, and more. Doctors can confirm the diagnosis through x-rays, MRI or CT scan.  These will offer a clear view of the patient’s spine, allowing doctors to reach an accurate conclusion.

How effective is spinal decompression therapy?

Extensive study has been done on this particular subject, leading to conclusive results about the therapy. According to studies, the effect of spinal decompression offered sufficient evidence to conclude its efficiency. Participants in the study managed to recover from symptoms attributed to a compressed spine with little side effects.

Before the use of surgery such as disc fusion is required, a combination of spinal therapy that includes decompression of the spine is the preferred course of action.

Spinal Decompression Therapy vs. Traction Therapy:

Traction therapy, whether it is gravitational or by application, causes the body to react and tighten and work against the beneficial relax.  While traction can still be beneficial, spinal decompression uses computer feedback signals to stretch your body and bypass these same reactions. The result is the maximum gain possible from this therapeutic technique by adjusting the tension of the decompression based on your body's specific response.

To support these assumptions, a study carried out at the University of Texas demonstrated the significant effect that spinal decompression therapy had on the users.

What is the best option?

The best option for spinal decompression therapy is almost always the natural choice: inversion. Through the help of inversion tables, individuals can attain satisfactory results without having to risk going under the knife. Inversion is also known for offering other benefits to the user including improved blood circulation, flushing of toxins and the relaxation of the muscles. Inversion therapy has been known to relieve back pain even as it helps improve posture.

Surgical decompression is best for chronic instances of pain that no longer respond to traditional treatment. The surgical route is only suggested if the inversion tables no longer work or if the patient suffers from health issues that ban them from using inversion tables.

All surgical procedures come with risks that individuals should know. When it comes to natural decompression therapy, it’s crucial that you first consult your doctor about the possibility. Health issues that can prevent the therapy from being approved include blood problems, glaucoma, circulation problems and more.

Typical Treatment Course:

Depending on the reason for the treatment, a typical treatment course includes about 20 sessions of spinal decompression. These can be doled out on either a daily or a weekly schedule.  The treatment doesn't require any specific clothing and can be done in as little as 30 minutes a session.

With more serious back issues such as disc herniation, spinal decompression can be used to facilitate the healing, instantly relieve pain, and provide long-lasting natural pain management.

As with any form of therapy, the results will vary from person to person, but most people will be pleasantly surprised with the effectiveness of spinal decompression therapy.  Whether you are suffering from a chronic back disorder or you are just rehabbing from an accident, spinal decompression can be a great addition to your spinal therapy treatment plan.

Spinal decompression therapy is an easy enough process and could be practiced even before symptoms set in. This can help prevent the complications that usually stem from the condition. Fortunately, inversion tables and chairs are abundant enough that individuals can easily obtain one should they wish.


There are many benefits that you stand to gain by paying attention to your spine.  However, it is always very important that you discuss this option with your healthcare professionals beforehand to make sure that you don't have any medical condition that would preclude you from using spinal decompression therapy.